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Old 07-28-2012, 07:19 PM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Australia, NSW
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Default Sound Magic E10 vs UE600 vs Hippo VB

I have just gotten around to some unboxing of these goodies and gaining some first impressions i thought i would report.

I bought the Ultimate Ears 600's from a local Australian Logitech retailer, I was curious to see/hear if they are the same as my Super Fi 5's that broke earlier last week. He was selling them for only $50 so I wasn't going to be too upset if they didn't live up to the same standards.
Well on first try out they are not as good, they are still loud (louder than the E10's) but even when the player (testing with cowon i9) is on pause or at menu screen without music playback there is a loud audible hiss in the background, something that is non existent in the E10's & VB's.
I should mention that i am testing with the volume loud here (35-max) and the files are 94db replaygained, but at this time the track is not even playing. I shall test again (I have to pop out now) to see if the hiss lowers with lower volumes settings of the player (even tho no music is being played back).

So i'm curious, what do u technically call this loud audible background hiss from IEM's (or any headphone i guess) that is detectable during even non playback?

For this reason alone I doubt I will be using the UE600's (I can imagine it will be very annoying during playback of quieter sections of music). It's a shame cause i find the comfort factor to be brilliant for the UE600's (especially when paired with large triple flange tips which seem to suit me best). I should also note here that i used the same tips when trying each type of IEMs. I tried a few of the stock tips but huge triple flange seem to be the only ones that really create a good seal for me (and stay sealed for long periods).

Next up will be the Hippo's...

Be back soon.

Update: Back, and i have done some more listening. First off the background hiss that the UE600's have does indeed raise and lower with volume, but its important to note that both the HippoVB's and E10's even at max volume there is no background hiss.
I'm pretty sure my super fi 5's were nothing like this, its safe to assume they are not the same, however when playing certain music where no quiet sections exist its of course not so much an issue. For $50 they're not awful, but its criminal to think they used to sell these for $150AUD here :S

Next up i tried the HippoVBs. I was pretty excited to try these but i was somewhat dissapointed. I tried each various bass ports - and this should tell you something about my ability to critic this type of affair - but i didn't notice a very big difference. In fact the 2 dots and 3 dots seemed to my ears quieten/muffle the headphones, i got more top volume and clarity using the 0 dot ports. Perhaps someone can confirm this?
I preferred the cord, plug type (right angle) and the little glider piece that helps tighten the R and L ear piece cord, so from a design perspective they were my preferred choice.

I'd had a go of the Sound Magic E10's before so i knew what to expect. I tried them the other day at work (im a cleaner) and I found that whilst they sound very good, they don't isolate as well as my old super fi 5's did, I could hear the vacuum cleaner whirring away (and i have a fairly quiet vacumm) during the quieter sections of music.

Overall i preferred the E10's the most, they provided the best combination of sound quality and volume over the other two, but to be fair i am yet to test the VB's at work to see how well the isolate next to the vacuum. It is really quite close between the e10's and VB's and if the VB's isolate better they might just get the nudge.
I'll be passing of the UE600's to my wife who needs a better pair of IEM's than the freebie pair of creative one's she has, she listens to music far lower on her D2 so i doubt the hiss will annoy her so much (or even hear it at all).

But herein lies the lesson.

1) the UE600's have the most comfortable ear pieces.
2) I like the cord design on the HippoVB's the most (didn't seem to tangle easily either).
3) The E10's had the best compliment of volume and sound quality, but I hate the cords the most, and they don't fit my ears that great or isolate.

So i have yet to find my dream headphones, Super Fi 5's have been my fav yet so far i think but the build quality is terrible (went through two pairs).

From here i am keen to try sound magics E30's and UE Triple Fi 10's (which at least have a removable cable). But for now i'm good till my cats get their hands on my IEMs...

Pics to follow..
SOURCE: Xclef (gone) | Cowon X5(gone) | Cowon D2 (dead) | Sansaclip+ RB | Sansa ClipZip RB | Cowon i9+ (32gb) | Cowon C2 (4gb)
HPs: Soundmagic E10's | Hippo VB's | UE 600's | Superlux HD 668B | Superlux HD660 | Sony XBA3 | Sony XBA2VP

Last edited by BruceBanner; 07-29-2012 at 04:55 AM.
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